Meta’s New Language AI to Translate Indigenous Languages

Facebook’s parent company, Meta, created the open-source NLLB-200, No Language Left Behind. The first translation of 200 languages, including 55 African languages, was performed by a single AI model. Meta is enhancing and expanding translations on Facebook, Instagram, and Wikipedia utilizing the modeling approaches and lessons learned from the project. Although there are more than 20 million Luganda speakers, it is quite challenging to discover examples of this language online. To create a trustworthy benchmark that can automatically evaluate translation quality for several low-resource languages, Meta stated that it collaborated with expert translators for each of these languages.

The new program, according to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “will allow more than 25 billion translations per day across Meta’s products.” This will enable millions of users to access Facebook, Instagram, and Wikipedia information for the first time in their native tongues.

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In comparison to past AI experiments, NLLB-200’s translation quality was on average 44% better. For specific African and Indian languages, the translations were more accurate than human translations. To ensure that the translations are correct, we may test each language’s performance using FLORES-200.

This project enables the translation of documents into languages with little global presence, such as Quechua (mainly spoken in Hebero) and the Fulani language (in West Africa). It enables the translation of texts into tongues with a small global audience. According to a French researcher, Facebook, which has to police hate posts, needs machine translation “particularly badly.”

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Researchers may assess how well it performs in each language to validate the accuracy of the translations. The UN is giving awards worth up to $200,000 to academics and charitable groups that promote the Sustainable Development Goals. Researchers involved in linguistics, machine translation, and language technology are encouraged to apply as well as nonprofit organizations interested in employing NLLB-200 to translate two or more African languages. 

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